Social Media Guidelines

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2 Social Media Guidelines Introduction The Department of Communications manages the District s social media presence including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Periscope. Currently, the District posts updates daily. In addition, the District subscribed to a third-party content back-up service in the event of public records requests. The information presented here is designed to be used as a procedures document. In order for a school in the School District of Palm Beach County to have an official or sanctioned social media presence, principals are expected to complete Esupport ticket: Request services related to social media. The form will allow the principal to designate which staff member(s) will maintain the social media accounts for the school. And also IT will allow these users to view the social media sites while on the District s network. We recommend that social media accounts be used to promote schools and specific initiatives (e.g., LearnGreen, Tech Conference). District departments (e.g., Elementary Education, Multicultural Education, and Professional Development) should send their posts to be published on the general District social media accounts and work with the Department of Communications to get approval of their social media presence. This will allow for a unified one voice approach from the District as a whole rather than messaging coming from individual departments in the District. When selecting which social media platforms you would like to use, it is recommended that you evaluate your audience. Typically, Facebook accounts are followed by parents, organizations and community members; while Twitter and Instagram are typically what the students follow. Be aware also that many times, members of the media will also monitor Twitter to receive immediate updates from the District and Schools. Of course plenty of people are on all platforms, but knowing the majority of users will help your school decide which strategies to take when communicating with your specific audience. Facebook Specifics There are significant differences between having a personal Facebook profile and maintaining a professional corporate or school Page. Facebook profiles are meant to represent a single individual. School Pages are separate from individual user profiles or pages, and should optimize the school s needs to communicate, distribute information/ content, engage their community, and capture new fans. Because of the rapid change in social media outlets, Facebook can be a way to attract people to your school s website. Therefore, the content of your Page should be relevant and interesting for your audience. Facebook Pages allow other users to become fans, but access to the individual profile Pages are limited. Pages do not allow the ability to invite friends in fact Pages cannot maintain a friends list they can only maintain a fan list, this feature is disabled on Fan Pages. GETTING YOUR FACEBOOK FAN PAGE STARTED 1. Examine your school culture and understand your audience Why does my school need a social media presence? How will it benefit the teachers, students, and families?

3 How does my audience use social media now? Do they even use it? (Consider polling your community, SAC, PTA, etc.) 2. Organize a school social media administrative team This team should include teachers or administrators who are already familiar with social media and understand the benefits that it will bring to your school. These individuals will contribute content and resources to share with your fans. Social Media Administrator: Assign one member of your team to do the posting and one or two trusted others who will also keep track of the activity on the Page. The primary admin should serve as the lead editor. Remember, just because it s social media it doesn t mean that you do not need good grammar, punctuation, and spelling. 3. Username and password The username and password should be maintained by the Social Media Administrative Team AND the school principal. After submission of the Esuppor ticket, the school or department will be an assigned generic address. Use this address to create your school s social media presence and maintain this information in a secure place. This way, also the page is not tied to a person s private account should they leave the school. Be sure to set up a strong password using characters like $ % # * & and numbers. 4. Records retention Be aware of Chapter 119, F.S., FL Public Records Law. If/when posts are deleted due to inappropriate language or behavior, we recommend printing or taking a screenshot of the post prior to deletion and maintaining it in your records. 5. Setting up the About section of your Fan Page This section is divided in three parts: About, Mission and Description. The About section should include a brief description of your school. Here is an example: The School District of Palm Beach County is the 5th largest school district in Florida and the 11th largest in the continental US with approximately 183,000 students. The Mission section should be the same as the one listed on your school s Edline page and official documents. Here is an example: The School Board of Palm Beach County is committed to providing a world class education with excellence and equity to empower each student to reach his or her highest potential with the most effective staff to foster the knowledge, skills, and ethics required for responsible citizenship and productive careers. The Description section should reflect details about the purpose of your page and what is expected from your fans. Consider using the School District s Facebook Page disclaimer below: This is the official Facebook page for The School District of Palm Beach County.

4 This page is intended to provide information to our students, teachers, staff, parents, community members and other stakeholders. Please note that the Palm Beach County School District (PBCSD) does NOT endorse or attest to the accuracy of information, opinions, claims, or advice shared on this page by our fans. Should you require a response from the School District or wish to request services you must visit or call (561) Furthermore, fans should understand that postings on the PBCSD Facebook account are their own and do not necessarily represent the PBCSD s opinion or position. Open conversation - not personal issues or complaints about students and/or school personnel. This page is not intended to circumvent regular communication channels for sharing personal issues and concerns, including personnel matters and student concerns. Comments regarding a personal issue with the District, a school, student or a staff member will be removed. Product sales and political campaign messages are for individual personal Facebook pages or Twitter accounts. The District Facebook account is for sharing news and information regarding district and school activities, events, and information. Stay on topic. This is a page dedicated to the education of students of the PBCSD. Let s keep the conversation related to our postings regarding district and school activities, events and information. Comments are welcome so long as they directly relate to our postings regarding district and school activities, events and information. Have a question for a specific employee? Contact them directly via their , phone or written correspondence. Be aware of the mission. The mission of PBCSD is education. Please be certain that your comments are appropriate for an educational environment and fans of all ages. This site is a limited or designated public forum reserved for limited communicative purposes. This is government owned property and the PBCSD s determination is final. Be factual. Blatantly inaccurate information will not be allowed. False information will be removed and factual information will be posted. The District reserves the right to remove postings that are: 1. Offensive, hateful, graphic, explicit or racial comments or comments that defame anyone or any organization. 2. Abusive, obscene or contain profanity 3. In violation of any laws or regulations 4. Fraudulent or misleading The PBCSD reserves the right to remove any fan who posts material that falls into any of the above categories and they will not be allowed to participate. Under Florida law, the entire content of the District s Facebook account is subject to the public records law. By becoming a fan of the PBCSD, your information will be a matter of public records. The District is required to retain this information in accordance with the State of Florida General Records Schedules and the PBCSD Records

5 Retention Schedule. This may include information on your own Facebook page. All comments will be maintained for a minimum of 30 days. Also, include basic information such as the school address, phone number and website link. 6. Profile and cover pictures Your school s profile picture should be your school logo and the cover picture can vary depending on events, activities and programs that take place in your school during the school year. 7. Settings Posting ability should be restricted. We recommend that you disable who can post on your school s timeline and who can add photos and videos. Private messages - This feature should be disabled. As stated on the disclaimer, fans who would like to contact your school are requested to call or the school. Tagging - Avoid letting others tag photos and videos to your site. This will decrease inappropriate content or spam to be connected to your page. Notifications - Allow your Page to send a notification to the address connected to your Facebook Page. This will help your school meet records retention law requirements. Additionally, notifications will allow your Facebook administrators to see and address posts and comments in a timely manner Age restrictions - The District s Fan Page has an age restriction of 13+ years and over to help manage inappropriate comments. Make this determination based on your student population. Profanity - Include a list of inappropriate language that should be blocked on your page and set your profanity filter to Strong. 8. Go live! Inform parents, students, teachers, and the community about your social media presence. Determine what marketing tools you will use to increase your fan base. School marquee, PTA/PTO/SAC meetings, posters, s, EdLine. Integrate - Add social media icons to your school s website, signature blocks, newsletters and all materials that your school distributes. 9. Maintaining your Page Commit to weekly updates and gradually increase the amount of posts based on the needs of your fans/followers. Keep in mind that social media changes, your school culture changes and policies change. Therefore, the social media administrative team should review your social media presence periodically and make necessary changes. 10. Reevaluate Determine if the time/resources invested were successful. Consider the amount of Likes or Followers, total reach of your page, people talking about your page, etc. and decide whether social media is increasing student and parental participation in your school activities, events and programs.

6 GETTING YOUR TWITTER PAGE STARTED A Twitter page is easier to activate and manage than a Facebook fan page. 1. Select a username (handle) that is representative to your school. Keep your Twitter handles short remember Twitter is limited to 140 characters and you don t want to use them all when fans are tagging you. 2. The address connected to your school s Twitter account should be the same as your Facebook fan page (provided when the Esupport ticket is completed). 3. We recommend that use your school logo as your profile picture. 4. Your Twitter account should be used as another avenue to increase traffic to your school s website. 5. Remember the Twitter time frame is instant. Therefore, consider Tweeting throughout the day and at times when your followers are active in their social media. Tweets should also be a reflection of update status, pictures and posts that can be found in your Facebook Page. NOTE: Schools are not required to have just Facebook, Twitter or both, the decision should be made by your social media administrative team based on the school s population. Only one Esupport Ticket per school is required, the only requirement is that you specify which outlets your school is using. Tips for Social Media Posts Valuable If it s not interesting, informative, or entertaining don t post it Timely Know when your fans are online and post accordingly Visual Albums, photos, and videos are effective ways to engage with your fans (Make sure any students who are posted have consent on file to be photographed) Concise Keep your posts to less than 250 characters/ Twitter is limited to 140 characters Creative Speak genuinely and find your school s voice Current Keep track of events, holidays, and important dates; and create your own way to make it relevant to your audience Hashtags Develop creative hashtags to promote your school, campus initiatives or activities for the school (e.g. the District often uses #YourBestChoice and #PBCPublicProud to promote our brand) Opinions Listen to your fans and ask for their opinion (be careful what you ask for). Embrace the feedback you receive and respond accordingly and appropriately. Not all concerns may be addressed, but audiences want to know they are heard. Policing- The audience is expected to show respect to the account and therefore the person using the account and the rules of the Code of Conduct shall still apply. Often, the audience simply needs a reminder of this and will self-regulate. However, if behavior or language that is against the Code of Conduct continues, site administrators should ban those users from posting to the account. Mix it up Photos, videos, links, questions, events, facts, etc. Post regularly At least once a day for Twitter. A few times a week for Instagram or Facebook Celebratory Congratulate your fans for their achievements make them feel special! Highlight your students pictures, drawings, songs, slideshows, poems, etc. (with consent) Prepare Keep a schedule of posts - possibly a shared document where the members of your social media administrative team can provide input. Respond Fans expect and deserve replies to their comments and questions in a timely manner Organize Find a tool to schedule and maintain your posts (e.g. Hootsuite). Posts can be scheduled days, weeks and months out which will also help with keeping the page timely without constant maintenance.

7 Integrate - Add Facebook/Twitter buttons to your school s website, signatures, newsletters and all publications. Have fun- Your Social Media should be an extension of your customer service. Make your audience feel involved and remind them why Palm Beach School District Schools are #YourBestChoice! Organizations such as PTAs, PTOs and SACs are not required to go through the District to have a page created, however it is strongly recommended that they speak to the principal before the page is established and that the school s administrators follow the pages to ensure that the appropriate messaging is being shared and concerns and feedback can be addressed. Once your school has established its accounts, be sure to let the Department of Communications know your Facebook page name and Twitter and Instagram handle so we can follow your page, tag your account when appropriate and help with promoting your school s activities. Need help? The Communications Team can provide assistance, feedback and best practices. Please contact your Communications Hotline at

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